Data Sheet: Nikkor F 24 mm f/2.8 (Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-N)

Pekka Buttler, 08/2022

Specifications

The table below summarizes the lens’ key specifications:

Brand:Nikon (Nippon Kogaku)Lens nameNikkor-N Auto 1:2.8 f = 24 mm
Focal length(s)124 mmAngle-of-view284°
Maximum Aperturef/2.8In Production1967–1972
Lens mountNikon FSubfamily (if applicable)Pre-Ai (F-type)
Length350,4 mmDiameter464,8 mm
Filter ring diameter52 mmWeight275 grams
Lens element count9Lens group count7
Aperture blades (S/R/C)56 SFocus throw155 °
Minimum focusing distance30 cmsMaximum magnification1:9,1
Has manual aperture ringYESHas Manual focus ringYES

Further notes:
• This Nikkor lens exists in two cosmetically different versions: lenses manufactured 1967–1971 (serial# < 310 000) have “Nippon Kogaku” on their name ring, whereas later lenses are “Nikon”. Optically they are the same.
• This lens harkens back to the time before Nikon decided to have uneven numbers of aperture blades on all their lenses.
• The subsequent C-type lens that has “NIKKOR-N•C” on its name ring (1972–1975) is otherwise identical but uses Nikon multicoating.
• Given that Nikon offered Ai kits for all these lenses, a large share of remaining copies have been Ai’d and are therefore in practice Ai-compatible (as has been done with the pictured sample).
• On early Nikkor lenses, the letter following “Nikkor-” denotes the number of lens elements. In this case the N stands for ‘Nona’ (nine)

History (when relevant)

Nikon is undoubtedly one of the great names in 35 mm SLR photography. The Nikon F mount has been in continuous production since 1959. During that time, the mount has developed/changed in some detail, however without ever fully sacrificing compatibility.

In short (a longer version is here), the development of Nikon’s SLR lenses can be traced as follows:
• 1959–1977: Pre-Ai. Manual focus lenses that use ‘rabbit ears’ to communicate selected aperture with the camera body. Pre-Ai lenses can further be subdivided into
• F-type (1959–early 1970s: metal focus ring and single-coated),
• C-type (early 1970s–mid 1970s: metal focus ring and multicoated), and
• K-type (mid 1970s to 1977: rubber focus ring and multicoated).
A significant share of remaining Pre-Ai lenses have since been converted to Ai-spec (Ai’d)
• 1977–1986: Ai and Ai-s. Manual focus lenses that may have ‘rabbit ears’ for backward compatibility, but are designed to communicate selected aperture with the camera body through indentations in base of aperture control ring.
• 1986–today: AF and AF-D. Autofocus lenses that do not have a focusing motor within the lens, but rely on the focus motor within the camera. All AF and AF-D lenses are simultaneously Ai-s lenses (they are Ai-s lenses extended with AF) 6
• 1996–today AF-S and AF-P. Autofocus lenses that have an internal focusing motor and do not rely on the body having a focusing motor.

For Nikon the 24 mm f/2.8 is a classic lens, and Nikon has a strong reputation in this category of ultrawides. Since the introduction of the original 24/2.8 (this lens), Nikon has produced altogether 8 variants divided into two somewhat different designs:
• 1967–1972 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 7 groups) (F-type) (this lens)
• 1972–1975 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 7 groups) (C-type)
• 1975–1977 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 7 groups) (K-type)
• 1977–1981 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 9 groups) (Ai)
• 1981–2020 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 9 groups) (Ai-s) [data sheet]
• 1986–1991 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 9 groups) (AF)
• 1991–1993 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 9 groups) (new AF)
• 1993–2020 24 mm f/2.8 (9 elements in 9 groups) (AF-D) [data sheet

Adapting

There are good chance this lens can still be used natively:
• If the lens has been AI’d, this lens can be used natively on all current high-end Nikon dSLRs and several earlier medium-to-high-end older Nikon dSLRs7 as well as all post 1977 Nikon Film cameras.
• If it is in its original Pre-Ai form, it can be used natively on the Nikon Df and on all Nikon F-mount film cameras produced before 1977.

Thanks to being a fully manual lens (manual aperture, manual focus), the lens can be adapted to all mirrorless cameras using a suitable dumb adapter (and such adapters are easy to find). Moreover, a large range of special adapters (helicoid adapters, tilt/shift adapters, speed boosters) for using Nikon F lenses on most mirrorless systems are available.

Using Nikon F lenses on non-Nikon SLRs and dSLRs is likewise a distinct possibility. Thanks to the relatively generous flange focal distance of the Nikon F mount (46,5 mm), adapter rings for all dSLR mounts are available as well as for a goodly portion of film-era SLR mounts. Such rings may not allow for auto aperture, but even then the lenses can be used in stop-down metering mode.

Footnotes

1 Focal length is (unless stated otherwise) given in absolute terms, and not in Full-frame equivalent. For an understanding of whether the lens is wide/tele, see ‘Angle-of-view’.

2 Picture angle is given in degrees and concerns the diagonal picture angle. Rule of thumb:
> 90 ° ==> Ultra-wide-angle
70–90 ° ==> Wide-angle
50–70 ° ==> Moderate wide-angle
40–50 ° ==> ‘Standard’ or ‘normal’ lens
20–40 ° ==> Short tele lens
10-20 ° ==> Tele lens
5-10 ° ==> Long tele lens
< 5 ° ==> Ultra-tele lens

3 Length is given from the mount flange to the front of lens at infinity.

4 Diameter excludes protrusions such as rabbit ears or stop-down levers.

5 S=straight; R=rounded; C=(almost)circular at all apertures.

6 There is a further sub-class of AF-D lenses called AF-I lenses that are otherwise AF-D lenses (meaning, fully Ai-s compatible), but have an internal focus motor. Only long tele lenses were made in AF-I variants.

7 As of this writing, the following Nikon dSLRs fully support Aperture priority and manual metered modes on Nikkor Ai lenses: D2, D3, D4, D5, D6, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D600, D610, D700, D750, D780, D800, D800E, D810, D850, D7000, D7100, D7200